I never smoked weed.
I never snorted cocaine.
I never was involved in a gang.
I never was a hard-partyer
I never tried to kill myself.
I was never an atheist.
But I still have a testimony.
Why do I say this? Because I want to address something very sad about popular Christian mentality, especially among young people. For those of us who grew up in a Christian family, went to church, youth group, sang all the songs, gave our hearts to God one fearful and tear-filled afternoon after learning about hell and wanting to be an angel up in heaven one day, the mentality I often see and I myself have struggled with numerous times is that our testimonies aren’t as powerful or meaningful as the guy who was a drug addict and encountered God one night and made a miraculous 180 degree turn-around and is completely sold-out for Jesus now.
But that is a complete lie.
Every testimony is a testament to the goodness and faithfulness of God.
What is a testimony?
Testimony: a. “A formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law.”
b. “Evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something”
We are all witnesses to God’s redeeming grace in our lives. If you got saved (no matter what age) you are living and breathing proof of God’s appearance in your life. When did it suddenly become shameful to share how you believed in Jesus all your life? When did a testimony become “weaker” if your parents brought you up in the church and you never strayed from the faith? We need to break this foolish lie that says faith isn’t authentic if it doesn’t germinate in place of desperation and darkness. Don’t get me wrong, testimonies about lost sheep being found hit me hard and I think God uses them mightily for his kingdom. But the sheep that have been in the pen their whole life still are a testament to the goodness of the shepherd!
In the first chapter of 2 Timothy Paul talks about how sincere of a faith Timothy has. How does Paul know this? Because Timothy’s grandmother had it, and she passed it on to Timothy’s mother, who passed it on to Timothy himself. It was a generational faith.
A sincere faith.
A beautiful faith.
Faith SHOULD be something passed on to the next generation. Faith does not grow weaker but stronger when it already has a strong family base. Where do we get this unhealthy idea that faith is somehow more powerful when we find it on our own?
Now don’t get me wrong. Everyone needs to encounter God on their own and accept the gift of salvation on their own accord. But that decision to do so is by no means less-informed or ignorant or false because it was supported by Christian parents.
If a professional basketball player has a child and teaches him basketball from a young age because it’s something he cares about deeply and his son grows up to be a professional basketball player as well, do people demean or doubt the authenticity of the son’s basketball skill just because he has a great teacher? Of course not. Everyone knows that even though the student has a great teacher, he still has to pursue excellence in his skills by himself.
A great teacher is not a great hypnotizer.
At one point in Jesus’s time on earth after performing a great many miracles, his disciples came to him and asked him what they needed to do to perform the great works that he was doing. Jesus replied and said that the great work of God was the belief in him whom God sent.
Faith is the greatest miracle we could ever hope for.
And that is a testimony.
So maybe you never shot anyone, or worked the streets, or had a vision of Jesus descending from heaven.
You still have faith.
You still made a choice to follow the light instead of the darkness.
You still are proof of the grace of God.
And what better testimony is their than that?